New Jersey resdidents may wonder what actions fall under the label of extortion. The crime of extortion occurs when a person compels another person to give them their property or money by threatening them. The person committing extortion may physically threaten the individual or others in the individual's life, or the threat may be one of exposure of information. A threat to harm an individual's business or reputation may also be extortion.
In some cases, extortion may be committed by a public official. One example would be a person who is supposed to collect public fees or fines who asks for more than the required amount.
For extortion to have occurred, the taking of the money or property must be willful. Although the victims consent to having their money or property taken, it is considered a crime because they are doing so under duress. Extortion is similar to robbery and false pretenses. It differs from the former in that the threat in robbery tends to only be physical and from the latter in that the property is obtained through lying rather than threatening.
An individual who is facing charges for extortion may wish to consult an attorney. This might be a serious charge despite often being considered a white collar crime, and if the person is accused of doing so in the course of their work, their career may also be at stake. The accuser might be lying, and the person may wish to proceed to trial. Another option that a criminal defense attorney is to negotiate a plea arrangement with the prosecutor that would involve a plea of guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduction in penalties.